Preliminary work to remove collapsed crane to begin Saturday

Crews will begin laying the groundwork on Saturday to remove a crane that collapsed onto a downtown Halifax building during Hurricane Dorian.

The crane, located next to a building under construction near the corner of South Park Street and Spring Garden Road, blew down in high winds last Saturday, and has remained draped over the unoccupied building since then.

On Friday afternoon, provincial Labour Minister Labi Kousoulis said extra support must be added to the building to ensure it is safe before the crane is removed.

"The building that the crane landed on could be compromised," he said. "They'll be going through that building and shoring up every single floor — so they'll essentially be putting posts in place to make sure the building doesn't fall."

Kousoulis said bracing the building will take about two days.

After that, starting Monday, crews will pin the crane to the building to keep the crane from falling when it is dismantled later. The pinning process is expected to take another three to four days.

Once the crane is secured, portable cranes will be called in to start removing sections.

Kousoulis said the removal is expected to take two weeks in total.

Crane's complications

He said one of the key challenges is that the part of the crane that's resting on the building weighs more than 30,000 kilograms.

"It's holding up a lot of weight, especially with being cantilevered," he said.

In three sections, the crane is being held together by only one column, instead of the usual four, he said.

The minister said the angle of the crane is "amazing."

"We were very fortunate because any other way that that crane fell, it would have been bouncing off occupied buildings, it would have been on the street.… And you know those few degrees in that whole circular area that it could have fell, it fell on the only unoccupied space."

Kousoulis said it's still unclear who will pay for the cleanup operation.

"I think that would probably be between the operator and the owner of the crane as well as the developer," he said.

As an added precaution, the minister said the other cranes in the city would be reinspected as well.

A number of homes and businesses surrounding the site have been evacuated. A spokesperson for the municipality said the evacuations will be in effect until conditions are no longer deemed dangerous.

Kousoulis said he does not believe the evacuation area will need to be expanded during the dismantling operation.

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